I came to teach

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I came to teach…
I am in a room full of new faces and new people. They are chatting and smiling, introducing themselves and welcoming me with such enthusiasm
They invite me to sit with them and to share who I am; they share who they are
They reassure me that all will be ok.
I came to teach, I learned about a caring, welcoming sense of community.

I am listening; listening to all that they are talking about.
Lesson plans, Aboriginal Education, Special Education, Backwards Design,
Enduring Understandings, Educating future educators
I am hearing a level of discourse that I am not sure I can contribute to; I am not familiar with all that they are alluding to and referring to…do I belong here?
I came to teach, I learned about humility.

The passion is contagious; the planning is underway.
The sharing of ideas, resources, strategies, stories of success (and failure)
How did you do this? How did you approach that?
Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!
I came to teach, I learned about camaraderie, collegiality and collaboration.

Here they are – the fresh faces full of apprehension and excitement
They are of all ages and of all walks of life. They want to be teachers.
What do they know? What do they need to know?
How will they discover, learn and understand?
I came to teach, I learned about intentionality.

The work has begun. The days start, the days end and still so much to do.
Did they understand? Should we go over this again?
We don’t have time—I need more time.
Reflections, journals, assignments, group projects, lessons to prepare, lessons to read—
Family, friends (see you in 3 months!!)
I came to teach, I learned about resilience, balance, and work ethic.

Into practicum we go. Are they ready? Have I done enough?
I walk into my first in-service meeting. When the
school associate leaves, the student teacher bursts into tears and reaches out for a hug.
She is in a new place, a new environment with new people and must do her best to succeed.
She just needed a familiar face.
I came to teach, I learned about relationships and support.

This one is a single mother, this one has diabetes, this one has a sick husband at home.
This one is struggling with the language; this one just broke up with his girlfriend of 15 years.
They are working hard. They are trying. They have a dream and a passion. Will they make it?
How can I help them? Is it their time?
I came to teach, I learned about compassion and empathy.

She doesn’t show up on time, he doesn’t complete assignments, difficulties communicating with SAs, rolling of the eyes.
Why don’t they get it? How many times and how many different ways can I explain this? Will they make it? Is it their time?
I came to teach, I learned about diplomacy, persistence and courageous conversation.

It’s the end of term. Reports are written, final conferences are done and practicums have concluded.
Let’s do one final closing circle. Please share anything you would like about your journey.
One says, “I didn’t know if I would make it. I looked at Kavita and saw in her eyes that she believed in me.”

I believed in him, others believed in me.
I came to teach, I learned that all those around me are supporting, encouraging, challenging and pushing;
I learned to believe in myself. 

Thank you to everyone at SFU—you have been so instrumental in my journey of learning.

Kavita Hoonjan
PBD 2001, M.Ed. 2014, Faculty Associate 

Read all the stories from the 2010s